beauty

Nine iconic bras we’re still loving.

Triumph
Thanks to our brand partner, Triumph

Millions of brassieres have been created and worn throughout the years. Millions of ‘em.

For many of us, the undergarment is simply a daily staple that serves a useful purpose.

Yet there have been certain bras in history and pop culture – bras of all shapes, sizes and functions – that have left a stamp on our collective memory.

Here are some of the memorable bras we’re still loving years later.

Madonna’s conical bra.

Madonna has long been the queen of mind-boggling concert outfits (sorry, Lady Gaga, but it’s true), and the silk, cone-shaped brassiere she wore during her 1990 Blonde Ambition tour quickly became her most iconic. A creation of designer Jean-Paul Gaultier, the eye-catching bra has lived on in pop culture history… and many a dress-up party costume.

Sing it sista. Image: Getty. 

Ariel’s seashells.

One Little Mermaid, one big lesson in fashion improvisation. Forgot to pack a bra for your summer holiday? Simply pop down to the beach, find two conveniently-sized seashells, et voila - you’re sorted. In all seriousness, though, there probably isn’t a woman alive who hasn’t daydreamed about frolicking around under the sea with a tail, a tropical fish for a friend, and two shells strapped to her bosom. Thanks, Ariel.

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What little girl didn't want to be Ariel? Image: The Walt Disney Company.

Princess Leia’s 'slave' bra.

Suffice to say, anyone who grew up on a steady diet of Star Wars - particularly those of the male variety - remembers Princess Leia’s 'slave' ensemble from Return of the Jedi.  For the uninitiated, it comprised a bra and loincloth with metal detailing. Makes you grateful that underwire is the only heavy-duty material in our undergarments these days, hmm?

Pretty much everyone remembers this moment. Image: Lucasfilm.

The Bullet bra.

These days, many of us buy bras specifically designed to not be too obvious under our clothes. It was a different story in the '40s and '50s, when the ‘bullet’-shaped bra rose in popularity. Actresses Jane Russell, Jayne Mansfield and Lana Turner often wore their bullet bras under tight jumpers, creating an eye-catching silhouette that gave rise to the term ‘Sweater Girl’.

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This bra gave rise to the term ‘Sweater Girl’.  Image: Lionsgate Television.

Jennifer Beals’ Flashdance bra.

If you’ve ever seen Flashdance - if not, get on that immediately - you’ll probably know exactly which scene I’m referring to. It’s the one where welder/dancer Alex takes off her bra mid-conversation without removing her sweater first, extracting it through her sleeve. We didn’t get a particularly close look at the bra itself, but this manoeuvre was nothing short of wizardry, and one many women have probably attempted (and failed) at home.

All women noted this swift man-over. Image: Paramount Pictures.

Seinfeld’s ‘braless wonder’.

Note to self: a white bra under a black blazer is a traffic-stopping look. Quite literally. This is a lesson Elaine learns the hard way when she buys her old school acquaintance Sue Ellen - who she nicknames “the braless wonder” for reasons that probably don’t need explaining - a bra for her birthday.

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Ah the braless wonder. Image: Castle Rock Entertainment.

Brandi Chastain’s sports bra.

After kicking the winning goal in the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, US player Brandi Chastain whipped off her jersey and fell to her knees in celebration - revealing her black Nike sports bra in the process. While this is a move that’s commonplace among men in soccer, the image of Chastain doing the same quickly embedded itself in sporting history. As for that iconic bra, it’s still in Chastain’s house, despite several people offering to buy it from her.

And so became the sports bra. Image: Sports Illustrated.

Britney Spears’ sports bra.

On the topic of sports bras, Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time video made a strong case for wearing them as tops. ‘Athleisure’ as we now know it wasn’t quite as cool or polished in the ‘90s - Britney’s bubblegum pink crop top bra and white track pant ensemble is all the evidence you need.

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Oh Baby Baby. Image: JIVE Records.

The bra sabotage in Mean Girls.

Thanks to a sabotage attempt gone wrong, high school Queen Bee Regina George indirectly starts a bold new fashion trend: the ‘cut two holes in your singlet top so your bra peeks through’ look. It’s not a style anyone is desperate to recreate, but it does have some merit - if you’re wearing a great bra, it’s sort of a shame to keep it hidden away from everyone, right?

    Queen Bee Regina George could do no wrong. Image: Paramount Pictures.

Which iconic bra is your favourite?

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